RCMP officers going through First Aid Training to assist injured police dogs

Police Dogs and K-9 Units have become as common in police forces as badges and guns.

In 2023, RCMP police dogs and their handlers responded to 1035 calls for service in Saskatchewan in 2023. Not all of these situations are safe, and occasionally police dogs are injured as they face the same risks an RCMP officer does.

“Our police dogs are just like our police officers. When they respond to calls for service, it requires a high level of physical activity and exposure to high-risk situations,” explains Sgt. David McClarty, who heads PDS. “Because of this, our handlers need to have the skills to keep these valuable members of Saskatchewan RCMP’s operational team healthy – and to know what to do in the case of an emergency.”

Police Dog Services (PDS) officers and their canine companions were put through their paces during training in Prince Albert earlier this month.

The session, developed by a veterinarian with the RCMP’s Police Dog Service Training Centre and the first-ever held in Saskatchewan RCMP jurisdiction, covered everything from mobility exercises to recognizing the signs of heatstroke to administering proper doses of medication in the field.  

During the session, police officers ran through a number of mock trauma scenarios and administered first aid to a dog dummy, and also talked about managing the emotional response handlers may have if their dog is injured.

According to a news release from the RCMP of the 1035 call for services in 2023, 229 of the calls involved firearms, 82 involved other weapons and 89 involved a flight from police. The handler-dog teams drove tens of thousands of kilometres during the year, to every corner of the province.

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